Angela Merkel 'having a bad week' claims Jeffrey Archer
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The former Conservative politician Jeffrey Archer said Angela Merkel is “having a bad week” as the German Chancellor is set to hold a summit with Vladimir Putin. France will also join in the hope it will improve relations, two diplomats said, potentially paving the way for the first such meeting since 2014. Such an event would follow US President Joe Biden’s summit in Geneva with Putin earlier this month and reflects concern in Paris and Berlin that the EU’s approach to Russia in recent years has mainly been focused on sanctions on Moscow.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Archer said: “She’s having a bad week. I’m a true admirer, I think she’s been a great leader of Germany.
“She’s now going to have talks with the Russians, thank you very much indeed, after what happened last night.
“Why? Because they get their oil from Russia so they will go on chatting and the French too are going to hold a meeting this week.
“We should be boycotting the Russians. Putin is an evil man.
“Only two weeks ago in the G7 what he was saying about ‘very constructive’ talks. You’ve all seen the headlines.”
It comes as Britain has accused Russia of “disinformation” after Moscow claimed its forces fired warning shots at a Royal Navy warship in waters off Crimea.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) denied shots were fired by a Russian patrol boat towards HMS Defender and that a warplane dropped four high explosive fragmentation bombs in its path during its passage through the Black Sea.
The British ambassador Deborah Bronnert was later summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow after Russia accused the Type 45 destroyer of straying into its territorial waters.
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But appearing before the Commons Defence Committee, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace insisted the ship had stuck throughout to an internationally recognised “traffic separation route”.
He acknowledged it had been “shadowed” by Russian forces during its transit from Odessa in southern Ukraine towards Georgia but played down the incident saying it was “routine” practice.
However, a BBC reporter aboard the HMS Defender said at times there had been 20 Russian warplanes monitoring its progress and that the sound of gunfire had been heard, although it was believed to be out of range.
Defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said throughout its passage the crew had been on high alert, at one point donning their “white flash” protective equipment in case there was an exchange of fire.
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He said a Russian coastguard vessel had attempted to make it change course but it stayed with the recognised shipping lane and that even after it was past Crimea, Russian jets continued “buzzing” it.
The Russian ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin later described the incident as “regrettable” and claimed HMS Defender had been 3 kilometres inside Russian territorial waters.
“He did not respond to several warnings, at least the warnings were issued every 10 minutes while he was going into water, deep into the waters. And then it was stopped by means that were available,” he told Channel 4 News.
The MoD said the shots heard by the crew appeared to have related to a gunnery exercise of which the Russians had given advance notice to the maritime community.
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